Interview with Paper Lions
By Harriet Kaplan
Photo by Dane Catcliffe
Considered their “most ambitious album to date” Canadian indie-pop quartet, Paper Lions recently released it’s latest effort, Full Colour. The album is a follow up to 2013’s My Friends. Two years in the works, Full Colour has reaching #10 on the Billboard ‘Next Big Sound’ chart in 2012, Paper Lions has spent many weeks in the top 10 in Sirius XM’s Canadian Grocery List chart, represented Canada at the World Expo in Shanghai, and racked up eight million views on their “Traveling” music video. Paper Lion includes singer John McPhee, Colin Buchanan on guitar, Rob MacPhee on bass guitar and David MacDonald on drums.
Recently BOC spoke to John McPhee about the band collaboration, working with Andrew Maury on the new album, their creative approach, what type of venues they frequent and more.
Is hard or challenging to have collaborated since childhood?
I don’t think so. While there are always challenges that arise, generally speaking, we have a fairly easy working relationship together. Full Colour was our most collaborate project to date, and I see future records continuing to move in that direction.
How did Andrew Maury get involved with the new project?
We discovered Andrew through his work with RAC, Penguin Prison and Panama Wedding. We did a bit of a trial run in Brooklyn with him producing Believer. It went really well, so we asked him to mix the remaining songs on Full Colour.
What did the band learn in the studio working with Andrew?
One of Andrew’s biggest strength’s is mixing. He has a bunch of techniques and tricks while mixing that we got to watch during the Believer session. We learned distorting every individual track on a song sounds fantastic
Is the creative approach different this time around?
Historically, we’ve developed songs in the practice space, jamming together. This time around, we booked a studio from day one, bringing in the very beginnings of songs and fleshing them out in the studio. This process allowed us to be a lot more creative with the writing and recording of the songs.
What type of venues do you frequent?
We just finished a hometown (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island) release show at the PEI Convention Center and are playing Toronto, Ontario next at The Mod Club. While the rooms are different sizes, (one is 2000 cap, the other 600 cap), both allow us to put on the show we’ve developed for this tour; projections, confetti, balloon drop, catwalk, et all.
What artists would you collaborate with if you could?
I’d love to do a duet with Mariah Carey.
What are the cool things to see and do in Canada?
Niagara Falls is incredibly powerful. Two National parks; Banff in Western Canada and Greenwich on Prince Edward Island are both amazing.
If you could take only 10 albums to a desert island what would they be and why?
Five Beatles albums (from ‘Help!’ to ‘Magical Mystery Tour’) and five Frank Sinatra albums because they would be the perfect companion piece no matter my mood.